Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Skape: 3D city mapping service from Infoterra

Infoterra Ltd, a leader in the provision of geographic information products and services, is to launch in the United Kingdom a brand new 3D city mapping service later this year which it says “will have to be seen to be believed”.

Named Skape, its applications are diverse, but architects, planners, surveyors, local authorities and property management companies will be among the first to seize its commercial potential. Skape will provide B2B professionals with presentational 3D city and mapping data as well as high accuracy building information of the UK’s major cities, all captured by the company’s own dedicated fleet of aircrafts and sensors.

Infoterra specialises in the capture and processing of airborne data, producing nationwide, map accurate aerial photo mosaics and Digital Terrain Models (DTM). With more than 25 years of expertise, the company is using its extensive data and skill set to create an easily accessible, photo-realistic, online mapping and modeling tool.

Anthony Denniss, COO at Infoterra Ltd explains: “The idea for Skape was born out of a desire to channel the extensive mapping information and technical skills that Infoterra has into an innovative, easy-to-use, online service that would add value to design, planning, and 3D visualisation.

“When we researched the B2B market about the concept of Skape and what we could deliver, 84% of those taking part in the research signed up to trial Skape at testing phase. This response overwhelmingly confirmed the need and appetite for a new generation of virtual 3D city imagery.”

Using its own fleet of aircraft, the company captured high resolution LiDAR, airborne oblique images of buildings’ roofs, and also the facades from many different angles to give a complete picture. Complex algorithms were used that maximise the image coverage by picking and utilising all lines of sight to give as comprehensive a texture as possible.

Jamie Ritchie, head of marketing at Infoterra Ltd and responsible for the launch of Skape, says: “Skape is going to break new ground, combining data accuracy, realism, and functionality not currently available in these markets. Users will be able to view and download highly realistic 3D environments for visual concepts online and interact with building information from unlimited vantage points. The ability to assess the impact of a scheme and resolve issues early in the development lifecycle, will save valuable time and cost. In the current climate, the art of balancing these savings whilst maintaining quality is particularly important.”

At launch Skape’s functionality will also allow interactive analysis for sunshadowing, asset management, infrastructure design, planning consultation, verified views and commercial occupier details. Buildings will be added and removed at will for a full range of design purposes and high levels of detail will make it possible to see individual doors, windows and even street furniture – without having to visit the location.

Explaining the background of Skape, Ritchie continues: “Uniquely, and perhaps most importantly, our ethos has been to develop a service in close conjunction with our user base – architects, planners, surveyors, facilities managers and local authorities. So we commissioned a series of over 80 in-depth interviews with potential Skape users, and used their feedback in the development stage of our service. Many are now participating in the testing phase, which has just begun.”
Ritchie concludes: “We want the Skape service to develop with, and for, our customers, based on a partnership approach. Owning 99% of our own data gives us greater control and means we can listen to what our customers want and then act immediately.”

Skape will be launched to the market later this year. To register interest and to receive updates prior to launch, please visit

1 comment:

  1. 3D visualisation is a great tool for planners, architects and construction professionals and this adds more richness to the mix of solutions. We’re working with planners and architects with a global focus who are using our solution, Archi-Me, to transform 3D CAD models into fully interactive environments that are explored, tested and modified by users. Feedback on Archi-Me ( is stunning as professionals and their clients/stakeholders/end users can interact using avatars as well as move furniture and fixtures, alter the lighting and so on. They can also test for special needs groups, such as those in wheelchairs or small people. It’s this level of engagement that has impressed clients as they feel empowered to discover, explore and resolve design issues early in the planning process, which also saves them times and money. The Archi-Me service covers the full planning and post-construction range – from 2D plan conversion, 3D CAD model transformation to creation of 3D virtual spaces of completed constructions. Another unique benefit is that people can explore these environments through a web browser, allowing remote groups to interact.